Can Emotional Intelligence Improve Your Projects?
Emotional Intelligence (EI), also known as Emotional Intelligence Quotient (EQ), is an increasingly sought-after skill for individual team members and project managers. EI refers to the ability to recognize your emotions and understand how your emotions affect people around you. EI also includes your perception of others and how you manage relationships.
EI is displacing Intelligence quotient (IQ) as an indicator of how an individual will perform in the workplace. Studies demonstrate that EI is often the strongest predictor of performance with 90% of top performers possessing high levels of EI.
What is Emotional Intelligence?
Daniel Goleman, a journalist who helped to popularize the theory, suggests five areas of EI:
People with high EI are usually very self-aware. They understand their emotions and are not ruled by their feelings. Such individuals acknowledge their strengths, and weaknesses, and more importantly, are willing to improve any areas.
The ability to control emotions is associated with careful decision-making, integrity, the ability to say no, and flexibility.
People with a high degree of EI are usually motivated, productive, and very effective in whatever they do.
Empathy is the ability to identify with and understand the wants, needs, and viewpoints of those around you. This quality makes empathetic individuals adept at managing relationships.
5. Social Skills
Individual with strong social skills are typically team players, diplomatic, excellent communicators and skilled at building and maintaining relationships.
Emotional Intelligence and Project Management
Many of the attributes associated with EI can play a significant role in project management. By understanding the needs, wants, and motivations of other people, project managers can develop the right relationships and get more from those involved in the project.
Project managers can use emotional intelligence to:
- Motivate and develop teams.
- Encourage collaboration.
- Influence others.
- Build strong relationships with stakeholders.
- Manage risks and change.
- Make better decisions.
- Overcome conflict.
- Conduct negotiations.
- Communicate effectively.
In short, EI transforms project managers into project leaders.
There are a number of ways to develop your Emotional Intelligence. Suggestions include:
- Practicing empathy. Imagine a situation from the perspective of another person. This will help you to understand their needs and concerns.
- Develop an approach to dealing with stressful situations to avoid becoming overwhelmed with negative thinking.
- Use Goleman’s five-point framework to ask for feedback from colleagues.
- Observe how your actions and communication style impacts others.
- Encourage your team and colleagues to examine their EI qualities and make adjustments where needed.